What’s the difference between a claim and a suit after a car crash?

A car accident is something that you will hopefully not have to deal with very often in your life. Since it’s a relatively infrequent event, it can be difficult to remember all of the steps that you have to follow – as well as the terminology used. Two terms that people sometimes mix up is “claim” and “suit”. In the context of a car accident, these terms refer to two separate legal processes that a person could pursue in their attempt to obtain compensation for their financial and physical damages.

Claims

After a crash, the first step is typically to pursue your claim by seeking compensation from the insurance company of the at-fault driver or your own company. A claim is your assertion that the insurance company should pay for things such as the cost of repairing your car, your medical bills, and your other damaged property resulting from the negligence of the other driver.

Insurance companies are notorious for looking out for their own financial interests rather than making sure that victims of negligence are adequately compensated. Sometimes an insurance company will undervalue or reject your claim outright. In cases like these, it could be necessary to hire an attorney and negotiate with the company.

If all else fails, and you’re unable to obtain the compensation that you need through your insurance claim, then you may have to resort to a suit against the other driver.

Lawsuits

A lawsuit is when you hire an attorney and seek compensation directly from the other party personally through the justice system. It involves taking the matter to court to have a judge or jury determine the amount of compensation that the other driver owes you.

Sometimes the other driver will be willing to negotiate with you and your attorney, and settle the matter out of court in a way that is beneficial to both of you. That way, you can get your compensation for all of the damages that you suffered without having to go through the entire process of going to court.

Whether your case is resolved by your insurance claim or through a lawsuit, it can take quite a bit of work to obtain the compensation that you need. But once your medical bills and other damages are taken care of, it’ll all be worth the effort.

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